Dragon’s Crown is a simple in concept, yet complex in execution 2D hack n’ slash RPG for the PlayStation Vita and PS3. Developed by Vanillaware and published by Atlus, players find themselves exploring dark dungeons, castle chambers, and even lush forest in search of the Dragon’s Crown.

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Dragon’s Crown starts you off by selecting one of the six playable characters. You have your choice of the Dwarf, Fighter, Amazon, Elf, Wizard, and Sorceress. I choose the Elf for my first play through but I have played as the Fighter. Each has their own special abilities and play styles. What Vanillaware does very well is clearly labeling which character is for which type of player you want to be. If you want a challenge then selecting the Wizard won’t be a walk in the park. If you take the Fighter out instead you will have an easier experience.

Dragon’s Crown’s gameplay is good, but not great. At times I find myself losing my character and taking damage just because I can’t find my person. They have since updated the game to help with this, adding colored circles around your player although still the issues are present. On top of this issue there also is a noticeable frame rate issue. Another problem is that it’s a 2D game that lets you move up in down in a 2D plain. By doing this you have to be almost perfectly lined up with the enemy or you will be just swinging at air. This can be especially frustrating when playing as the Elf, because shooting her arrows have to be almost dead on.

Dragon’s Crown has a neat feature that may help you along your quests. By finding bones on the levels you can go to the Canaan Temple and have them resurrected to help fight beside you. These AI can be really helpful especially keeping the enemies distracted.

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One of the things done well is loot and equipment. Every time you find a chest you use your friend Rannie to unlock the chests by tapping on them with the touchscreen. After a level is complete you get to see the items you collected, the catch though is that each item needs to be appraised to see what it actual does stat wise. You do get to see it class whether it be a ‘D’ grade or ‘S’ grade. Using your money wisely you can either sell all the items or just appraise the ones you want to keep. After returning from a level checking on your equipment’s durability is a good thing to do, by going to Morgan (the item shop) you can fix all your equipment for a fee of course. Even with its faults, Dragon’s Crown still brings us a great experience on the Vita.

When you first pop in Dragon’s Crown you will notice just how colorful and detailed everything is. With a rich environment and creative enemy designs, it would be hard pressed to find anything lacking detail. If you’re offended with half-dressed men and women then this one could seem a bit much for you. I personally have no problem with the art direction they took.

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After playing a lot of single player and having all these issues with frame rate, I wasn’t looking forward to trying out multiplayer. Usually with bad frame rate and jumping into a multiplayer match these issues will get amplified. The surprising thing that I noticed was it actually seemed to play better online. There wasn’t any frame rate issues and the lag was only slightly noticeable. There was a bit of lag for hit detection basically when I shot an arrow my hit wouldn’t register right away. It didn’t seem to mess me up with timing. While playing online it seemed to be much easier to survive. After a level is complete you have the same option as single player to continue your journey for a better reward or collect your earnings. If you decide to continue though you will be put in another game if the other players decide to not continue. All this is done very painlessly.

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Dragon’s Crown may not be perfect, but with great graphics, a fun grind, and a well-built multiplayer it is a good buy. With the issues aside I had a lot of fun with this one. Unfortunately the problems are so common that it became hard to get over. If you wait for a sale this game is a must buy, but at full price it can be a bit of a letdown. If you’re not into grinding and a bit of repetitive gameplay this title is probably not for you.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
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Tyler Olthoff is a 24 year old who has been gaming since he can remember. In love with almost all types of games, the only type he can't stand (and that's probably because he sucks at it) is fighting games. His favorite genres would have to be shooters, RPGs, and adventure games. He owns almost every new system out there including PS4, PS3, XB1, PSVita and the 3DS, but barely plays any of them as it's mainly his good old Vita getting the attention!
  • ruefrak

    I played through as the fighter and after 20 hours in, I beat the game… I think. It then tells me I just basically finished Part 1 of 3. So now I’m going back to the beginning and trying out the different classes to see how they play.
    My verdict is it’s fun. It’s a perfect game when you don’t have time to be completely focused on what you’re doing but you can still enjoy it. It’s great, casual fun that also has a layer of depth to it with upgrades and equipment.
    But perhaps most tellingly, the way I know there’s something special about this game is that I’m always going back to it. I got it at the same time as Killzone, and while I enjoy both, I keep going back to Dragon’s Crown to play a little more.

  • ExcaliburEdge

    I’ve beat normal mode with the amazon, elf, fighter, and sorceress. I’m still working on my dwarf and wizard. If anyone else is playing multiplayer, feel free to add me to your friends list.

    PSN: ExcaliburEdge

  • Brian Sharon

    Dragon’s Crown seems like a game made perfectly for me, except for a pair of factors inclusions. The first being the overtly sexual female characters and the second being the lack of cross platform multiplayer. The latter is being addressed in Japan (http://thevitalounge.net/new-dragons-crown-patch-allows-for-cross-platform-multiplayer/), but I will not purchase the game until it is brought to Western markets.

    • JuhRo

      This is a stance that isn’t very popular amongst the interwebs… your first factor. I can’t understand why people dismiss my being bothered by the way the female characters are dressed and are portrayed as just being a prick.

      -sigh-. It takes a lot of the light away from the great 2.5D Old school Brawler it really is.

      • Brian Sharon

        Don’t get me wrong, I love the visuals but I personally just don’t feel comfortable playing a game with characters as overtly sexual as the ones in Dragon Crown. I am all for sexual content in game, as long as it isn’t overtly done. In the case of Dragon’s Crown – there was no need to represent the female characters in such a manner.

        • JuhRo

          Thanks for being one of the only people who I’ve heard on internet forums, that actually makes sense of the Dragon’s Crown situation.
          This is a situation where the boob jiggling and basically topless shopkeeper, somewhat hinder the experience that the game promises to deliver(and for the most part, does.)

  • LesTom1

    Evening folks, I’m over 5 hours into Dragon’s Crown with my Dwarf character and absolutely loving it, it’s a really fun and engaging Vita game

    One question though:- how on earth do I equip a different weapon? I’m still running with the same short hammer that I started the game with and although I’ve earned a few different weapons, I can’t seem to equip any of them.

    I realise I must be missing something basic here, but can anyone help?

    • Make sure you’re the right level for it. and some weapons can’t be used by other characters.

  • Buckybuckster

    Kudos for another excellent and well presented review Tyler! Keep ’em coming!

    Have to say that I love this game. I can honestly say that it’s my favorite Vita purchase of the year. Tyler speaks the truth when he says that there’s alot of grinding and repetitiveness in this game. And when the pyrotechnics jump off at full tilt, the graphics engine will slow down. And it is at times hard to pick out your character amidst all the mayhem. And I still love it!

    If you are a fan of Golden Axe or especially any of the old arcade multiplayer adventure games from Capcom (The King of Dragons, Magic Sword), you cannot go wrong by picking this one up!